Make the most of your online marketing: Landscapes 2018

Digital marketing opportunities for small businesses like landscapers continue to grow
Landscape companies can create a robust digital marketing strategy even with limited resources.

Beth Berry, vice president of business development for Real Green Systems, led a session at Landscapes 2018 on Thursday sharing how companies can use online platforms for marketing.

YouTube

Several landscapers shared their stories of using videos to market their business.

[Related: Lawn Love: A business-services solution for small landscapers]

“When you create content online, it’s like you’re with them. It creates a personal connection,” John Perry, founder of Biogreen and creator of Lawncology, said. Perry launched his website in February and now has over 4,000 viewers.

“My intent is to educate. That’s my job as a business owner,” he said. Perry creates videos based on questions he gets from his customers. He recommended keeping videos around six or seven minutes long and posting new content at least once a week.

“Repetitive content is important. That’s what keeps people engaged,” he said. Perry credits his YouTube marketing for his over $1.5 million increase in sales.

Matt Martin of The Grass Factor noted how easy it is to get started creating video content.

“It requires a cell phone and a topic you’re passionate about,” Martin said. He warned that building a following doesn’t happen overnight. It took two years of posting videos consistently to generate 400 followers, he said, but it jumped to 1,000 after last year’s GIE+EXPO and is now over 9,200. His lawn care business doubled year over year since he starting video marketing, he said.

Even as a subsector of the agriculture industry, the landscape and lawn care industry is massive, he said. However, when agriculture falls on hard times, it gets subsidies from the government. “The lawn care industry doesn’t have that to fall back on,” he said. “But what we do have is each other. … When we fall on hard times, we have to lift each other up.”

Allyn Hane of Lawn Care Nut believes podcasting will be the next big marketing tool because it’s “frictionless. You can have it on in the background.”

Google Ads

Berry said Google Ads is “arguably the most indispensable platform for digital marketing.” As Google’s search engine gets more sophisticated,

“It’s easy and free to become an expert” at AdWords, which generates business faster than SEO, she said. Google offers a professional accreditation on using AdWords, which provides users with measurable, actionable information about how successful their ads are.

Facebook, Instagram

“Facebook ads and Instagram Stories are two of the biggest bargains you’re going to find in digital marketing,” Berry said. Facebook is a huge company used by people across all age groups, she said.

She gave several tips for designing effective ads.

  • Design ads around an obvious focal point like a photo.
  • Make sure your brand is very prominent in the copy or the image.
  • Use a tone that fits your brand’s personality.
  • “Reward” viewers. “Ads that work reward you for seeing them by making you smile, learn interesting information or have a very positive feeling,” Berry said.
  • Get the point across. Ads are integrated into users’ feeds, so make sure they can see your point right away when they’re scrolling.

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